Fruity, dark and sticky, Christmas pudding is packed with deep, delicious flavours and deserves to be enjoyed in as many ways as possible. This year, whether you're keeping it classic, trying a new twist or using your leftover pudding in bakes and desserts, here are eight inspirational tips for giving your Christmas pud a makeover.
Let's start traditional and make sure you've got the richest, fruitiest and most delicious Christmas pudding to serve up on the big day. This classic Christmas pudding recipe is packed with spices, citrus zest, dried fruits and nuts for the perfect mix of flavours and textures. If catering to vegetarian or dairy-free guests, this vegan Christmas pudding is just as good.
Now you've got your pud, you need to serve it in style. This of course means a blaze of glory as you light the brandy-soaked pud in front of your guests. If setting your pudding aflame feels a little daunting, don't worry, follow our simple step-by-step guide of how to light a Christmas pudding for total peace of mind.
Although the pud is undoubtedly the star, all that rich, fruity filling needs a dollop of something creamy and cool to serve alongside. Pour over double cream, spoon on thick clotted cream or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a quick win, or whip up your own boozy brandy butter for ultimate indulgence. As a dairy-free option, this vegan whipped coconut cream makes a rich alternative to try.
With so much food on the big day itself, there's often a piece or two of Christmas pudding leftover that you just can't eat up. Don't chuck it away! Once cool, wrap in clingfilm or foil and keep in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months. If there's only a little left, make the most of it in an easy seasonal fruit dessert between Christmas and New Year by mixing pieces into the golden topping of this Christmas pudding crumble.
For an alternative to crumble, take inspiration from Austria and try a crispy, flaky, filo-pastry Christmas pudding strudel for a change from apple or pear. This is the perfect way to use up a lot of pudding in one go and makes a great pudding to transport to family get-togethers and buffets.
Last minute guests? Never fear, use your leftover pud as the base for a quick and easy Christmas trifle that's sure to impress. Layer the crumbled pudding in the base of a glass, then top with seasonal fruits (such as clementines and mandarins, sweetened cranberries or tinned cherries), some ready-made custard and finish with whipped cream.
Love the flavour of a Christmas pud but not fussed by the real thing? Bake up a sweet treat instead to enjoy over the Christmas period with a cup of tea or glass of mulled wine. These Christmas pudding cake pops are perfect if you've got kids to entertain and they can even help with rolling and decorating the fruit cake mixture as a holiday activity. For a cute edible gift, try these Christmas pudding muffins as a fun festive bake.
Although traditional, Christmas pudding isn't to everyone's taste, but you can still serve up a showstopping pud on the big day that is like the real thing. For chocoholics, this stunning rocky road bombe pudding can't fail to please; packed with gooey marshmallows, crunchy biscuits and jewel-like fruit all set in an easy no-bake chocolate fridge cake mixture. Yum!
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